Osborne hails 'momentous progress' in UK-China links

George Osborne hailed the "momentous progress" in links between the UK and China as he set out his ambitions for the City of London to be the major offshore hub for trade in the Chinese currency.

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UK and China sign trade deals worth £14 billion

Chinese premier Li Keqiang and prime minister David Cameron at the Foreign Office, London Credit: Pool

China and the UK have signed business deals worth £14 billion in what Prime Minister David Cameron said was a "growing relationship" and reflected the popularity of the UK as China's country of choice for investment in Europe.

"We've had more Chinese investment into the United Kingdom in the last 18 months than we've had in the whole of the last 30 years combined," he said.

Mr Cameron said the figures proved Britain "was the most open economy in the EU, the most welcoming to Chinese investment," including in the nuclear industry and infrastructure, and was determined to keep it that way.

Campaigners urge PM to raise human rights with China

Campaigners have urged David Cameron to raise China's human rights record during his meeting with the country's premier Li Keqiang.

Mr Li is is accompanied by a team of Chinese business bosses, who are in the UK for the return leg of a trade boosting link-up begun by David Cameron last year.

On the eve of Mr Li's visit, Deputy PM Nick Clegg said the government would not shy away from raising China's "large scale and systematic" human rights abuses.

Activists campaigning for a variety of causes including Tibetan independence staged a noisy protest opposite the gates of Downing Street.


The Queen hosts Chinese Premier at Windsor Castle

The Queen has met the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang this morning, only two months after a human rights row between China and the UK.

Mr Li and his wife traveled to Windsor Castle as part of their three-day official visit to the UK.

The Queen greets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Mr Li is in Britain for the return leg of a trade boosting link-up begun by David Cameron last year.

He will meet the Prime Minister in Downing Street later today.

The Queen receives Chinese premier Li Keqiang and his wife Cheng Hong at Windsor Castle Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

But only two months ago, the two countries found themselves in a diplomatic row over human rights.

China was angered by a British Foreign Office document criticising its rights record and called off an official meeting in London at short notice.

BP lands multi-billion deal with China

BP will sign a deal worth around £11.8 billion ($20 billion) with China to supply its National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) with liquefied natural gas, Chief Executive Bob Dudley said.

"It is a 20-year supply agreement on LNG. It is a fair price for them and a fair price for us. It is a good bridge between the UK and China in terms of trade," Mr Dudley said.

UK to secure £18 billion business deals with China

A team of Chinese business bosses, led by the country's Premier Li Keqiang, are in Britain for the return leg of a trade boosting link-up begun by David Cameron last year.

The three-day visit is expected to yield business deals worth over £18 billion total.

Here are some of the deals:

  • BP will sign a £5 billion deal to supply liquefied natural gas to China
  • £120 million deal to reopen UK lamb and beef meat exports to China
  • Nord Engine, a Chinese financial services group, will announce £150 million investment in UK and European small and medium tech businesses
  • China’s largest private sector investment group, China Minsheng Investment Corporation, will announce a new European HQ in London with an investment of around $1.5 billion
  • Royal Dutch Shell secured a new partnership with China's state-owned energy giant CNOOC


China Premier Li Keqiang arrives in London for talks

The UK is overhauling its visa system to make it easier for Chinese tourists and businesses to visit the country, interior minister Theresa May said on Monday, marking the start of a visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Prime Minister David Cameron with Mr Keqiang. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Mr Li has arrived in London three-day official visit which includes an audience with Queen Elizabeth and is aimed at putting aside a recent history of political tension and building closer trade and commercial ties.

Government officials keen to tap into the spending power of tourists from China's expanding middle class and encourage businesses from the world's second-largest economy to deal with Britain.

The Home Office announced a streamlined application process for Chinese visitors and a service to grant them visas within 24 hours.

Chinese visitors to UK to be offered new visa service

All Chinese visitors to the UK will be offered a new streamlined visa service ensuring it is "easier than ever before" to see what the country has to offer.

A pilot scheme was launched last year for tour operators allowing them to work from a single form in processing UK visa applications, and the programme will now be extended to all visitors.

A new 24-hour visa service will also be launched to Chinese visitors in August, while 12 visa application centres are set to open across China in a bid to reduce waiting times for applicants.

"The number of Chinese people coming to Britain to visit and do business is soaring," Home Secretary Theresa May said.

"They already enjoy a first-rate visa service and these changes will ensure it is easier than ever before to visit the UK and see first-hand everything this great country has to offer."

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